Is the US poultry industry coping in heat wave?

05-09-2007 | |
Is the US poultry industry coping in heat wave?

Extremely high temperatures have embraced much of the US, particularly in the south. These searing temperatures are proving to have serious consequences. How is the country’s poultry industry managing?

Record high temps in Georgia and other states have topped 100ºF (38ºC), with heat indexes even higher. As of 20 August, more than 40 people have died from the oppressive heat. Many areas in the south have seen record highs of over 105ºF (40.5ºC).
As it seems, the current heat wave is being met with as much success as can be expected, due to the assistance of modern poultry farm equipment and grower diligence.
“All things considered, chickens in Georgia are doing very well,” says Abit Massey, president of the Georgia Poultry Federation. “One of the most dramatic things that has happened (during this heat wave) is the impact of tunnel ventilation. Upgraded and new housing, tunnel ventilation, cool cells, etc., have helped considerably.”
Mike Pepper, president of the Mississippi Poultry Association, also owes the success of the industry to poultry houses being better equipped, with the introduction of better technology and good adaptation to the new technology. He says that everything has been affected by the heat, including livestock, crops etc, but the poultry industry has done well.
Ray Hilburn, deputy commissioner of Alabama’s Department of Agriculture and Industries attributed the poultry industry’s success against the high temperatures to the use of ventilation technology. “If we had had weather like this 15 years ago, we would have lost a million chickens,” he said.
North Carolina
In North Carolina, Donald James, Prestage Farms’ production manager, says they have lost approximately 1,000 of its 4 million turkeys during the week of August 10. “We’ve got the equipment in place, but sometimes the heat just gets unbearable. We’ve done pretty good considering how hot it’s been,” James said.
There is also positive news from Virginia. “Despite the recent high temperatures, I am so far not aware of any significant impacts from the heat in Virginia,” said Hobey Bauhan, president of the Virginia Poultry Federation.
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